A half-metal is any substance that acts as a conductor to electrons of one spin orientation, but as an insulator or semiconductor to those of the opposite orientation. Although all half-metals are ferromagnetic (or ferrimagnetic), most ferromagnets are not half-metals. Many of the known examples of half-metals are oxides, sulfides, or Heusler alloys.[1]

In half-metals, the valence band for one spin orientation is partially filled while there is a gap in the density of states for the other spin orientation. This results in conducting behavior for only electrons in the first spin orientation. In some half-metals, the majority spin channel is the conducting one while in others the minority channel is.

Half-metals were first described in 1983, as an explanation for the electrical properties of Mn-based Heusler alloys.[2]

Some notable half-metals are chromium(IV) oxide, magnetite, and lanthanum strontium manganite (LSMO),[1] as well as chromium arsenide. Half-metals have attracted some interest for their potential use in spintronics.[3]


  1. Coey, J.M.D.; Venkatesan, M. (2002). "Half-metallic ferromagnetism: Example of CrO2". Journal of Applied Physics. 91 (10): 8345–50. Bibcode:2002JAP....91.8345C. doi:10.1063/1.1447879.
  2. de Groot, R. A.; Mueller, F. M.; Engen, P. G. van; Buschow, K. H. J. (20 June 1983). "New Class of Materials: Half-Metallic Ferromagnets" (PDF). Physical Review Letters. 50 (25): 2024–2027. Bibcode:1983PhRvL..50.2024D. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.50.2024.
  3. Rostami, M.; Afshari, M.; Moradi, M. (October 2013). "Bulk and surface half-metallicity of CsS in CsCl structure: A density functional theory study". Journal of Alloys and Compounds. 575: 301–308. doi:10.1016/j.jallcom.2013.05.171.

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